Apple Watch review – business tool or luxury gadget?

The Apple Watch has been on my radar ever since the hype began. I was online in the pre-order queue within two minutes of it opening. The big question for me: would it live up to the hype and offer new ways of working, or would it just be a flashy piece of arm candy?

As you would expect from Apple, first impressions were superb. Before I’d so much as turned the watch on, two clever things came to my attention.

Firstly, the strap – with just one push you can change it completely. Secondly, the plug has foldable pins, making packing it for travel much easier.

The quality of the materials are excellent, the screen is bright and clear, and the watch is smaller and lighter than I had expected.

A business tool?

Apps built by Apple such as calendar reminders and messages work well (although there is no keyboard so this is limited to preset messages or Siri). As I worked, the watch notified me of emails, tweets and calendar appointments.

The watch alerts you to new emails and shows the message, however, it cannot display anything web content-related (HTML format shows as plain text). There is no ability to reply to an email, only flag, delete or mark as unread/read.

I’m a big fan of RSS newsfeeds, preferring that to the Twitter route for my trusted sources of news. Feedly has now launched on Apple Watch and took input from users on their blog before releasing the app. It still needs some improvements, but having my main news article to skim through on my watch really helps with my business day.

Rather than just marking the emails as read, it would be cool to be able to compile a ‘to read’ list and have it emailed to you.

Read more on Apple:

If your average business day consists of the usual mix of meetings, calls and emails, then the Apple Watch can be useful for checking notifications during a meeting – less intrusive than checking a phone or laptop, but not massively impactful.

It all started to make sense when I had to attend a meeting across town – navigating to an unfamiliar location using the Maps app is achieved via the subtle taps on the wrist for next turn approaching and a quick check of the wrist to see the instruction. The navigation feature seems to be most useful to me at the moment.

As a regular presenter, I have also discovered that if you AirPlay your PowerPoint slides to a TV (from your phone), you can then move between slides with the watch. I found that very useful for me while rehearsing for various upcoming speaking slots at home and in hotels.

On the next page, check out feedback on the battery, general usage, improvement areas and a final verdict.

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